Ashes 2005 1st Test at Lord’s

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Looking back with hindsight, the most bizarre aspect of the first Test in the 2005 Ashes series was the fact that people thought Ian Bell and Graham Thorpe would keep Kevin Pietersen out of the team. In the end, England made the brave decision.

Ricky Ponting, face cut by Harmison in the AshesEngland lost this match by some distance, but they rattled the Aussie batting line-up. Harmison hit Langer on the elbow in the first over and then rattled Hayden’s helmet in the fifth. Later on, he got Ponting in the face.

This is the point about fast bowling. Getting hit in the face by a cricket ball bothers people. It really does. It affects your concentration. If you don’t believe us, sit down to do a sudoku in a batting helmet and see how you get on after a ringing blow to the temple. You could be the best damn sudokist in the world, but it’ll put you off.

The Aussies were all out for just 190, but when England batted it was all more familiar. Glenn McGrath reduced them to 21-5 and they were all out for 155. The Aussies batted better second time around and then dismissed England for 180.

England’s batting looked shot, but no batsman passed 100 in the match and Kevin Pietersen showed that English batsmen needn’t fold.

For England fans, they liked the idea that when the batting collapsed, at least they could kid themselves that the bowlers might be able to salvage things. England fans take a bit of convincing that their side isn’t incompetent, so this was pretty much boundless optimism by English standards.


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  1. That’s all well and good, but there is the other side to getting hit on the helmet.

    In Big Dev Malcolm’s case, it brought on The Rage.

    Unfortunately, cases of cricketers getting The Rage are few and far between…at least the ones where The Rage actually helped rather than hindered.

  2. Pietersen’s twin fifties were the start. But the major turning point was the first day of the second Test when England hit 400 in a single day of batting.

  3. Agreed, the aussies were not expecting us to attack them with the bat like that. Seems a bit greedy / stupid, but I remember being pissed off with that because we’d still allowed ourselves to be bowled out in 80 overs and Vaughny holed out to a full toss on 166 – the double ton evading him yet again. That game was probably the beginning of the end for Gillespie too.

  4. I was there on Day 2 of the Lord’s match.

    My abiding memory was returning to our seats after lunch – a group of “lads” in front of us had bought the London Standard at lunch and were talking in loud celebratory voices about our boys having “got” one of the terrorists. I remember thinking that the story didn’t stack up and saying to my friend, I thought quite softly “I just hope the police haven’t screwed up on this one”. The lads overheard, turned around and let me have it in the neck for daring to suggest that the police might make such a mistake.

    I wonder whether those lads remembered that conversation as clearly as I did when the Jean Charles de Menezes story unfolded.

    But I digress.

    I was in no doubt that we were heading for a loss more or less all the way through that Lord’s test, with the only mitigating factor being the risk of rain as the match continued.

  5. I lived the whole Ashes 05 thing with a colleague and very good friend of mine, an Aussie, who was spending the year in the UK with his family. We always have a dozen bottles of finest red wine riding on the series outcome.

    After day 1 we were both in shock. By day 4 it was just same-old same-old. The English batsmen had no clue whatsoever how to play McGrath, so every one of his deliveries looked like it would get a wicket. I recall thinking that England could still pull off the draw on Day 5 (there had been rain). But no.

    On day 6 Aussie boy came into work wearing his strayan flag tie, and he put up a strayan flag on his office wall. Later that day, someone removed the useless three-quarters with a pair of scissors, which pissed him off immensely.

    We analysed the match later in the pub. The main reason why beating Australia is so much fun is because whenever they win anything, they assume that the victory is due to largely to the quality of Australian-ness, which of course they all share. They don’t (didn’t) look at Warne and McGrath and Gilchrist and just admire their skills, as an Englishman might do with Vaughan. They see those players as an extension of themselves – better at cricket, yes, but probably not by all that much.

    It’s been said above that Day 1 of the next test was key. This is true, the reason being that it stripped away the idea that Australian-ness was unbeatable, and without that too many of their players had very little else to give.

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